2010 Revolutionary 100: West Region

Revolutionary 100–West Region
Company, City, State  Locations Retail Acres  Years Examples of Revolutionary Business Practices
Regional Winner: Watson Greenhouse & Nursery
Puyallup, WA
1 2 25


Reducing expenses played a huge roll in managing profitability this year for Watson’s Greenhouse & Nursery. The retailer reduced its staff, but also implemented a cross-training program with the remaining staff to become more efficient. “This increased confidence in our staff has resulted in a renewed enthusiasm for their job, which in turn has improved our customers’ experience at Watson’s,” says President Maidee Watson, adding buyers in all departments worked closely with vendors to negotiate improved discounts and better freight rates. “As owners, we meet with our management team weekly to discuss ways to improve turns and efficiency. We are committed to controlling our inventory to remain profitable, and our buyers are held accountable.”

Along with cost reductions, those at Watson’s also invested in the business, upgrading the point-of-sale system, adding office space and more parking, as well as new benching for improved merchandising.

“The advantage of staying current and fresh in today’s market will continue to pay off in increased profitability by retaining current customers and attracting new ones,” Watson adds. 

Almaden Valley Nursery
San Jose, CA
1 0.75 35 Sponsored the Going Native Garden Tour, which touted native plants, a specialty of the nursery. Had nursery staff on-site at one of the display gardens and sold more than $3,000 in 1-gallon native plants in one afternoon alone. The sponsorship brought new customers to the nursery that have now become repeat customers.
Al’s Garden Centers & Greenhouses
Woodburn, OR
 3  16  62 Positioning the garden center as the educational experts with informational signs, handouts, e-mail newsletters and a magazine, along with plans for Facebook, Twitter and a blog from co-owner Jack Bigej this year. 
Bauman Farms
Gervais, OR
 1  0.5  104 Cut down on total number of employees and heavily cross-trained so that employees in the bakery could help fill and wash vegetables in the market; other staff in the store learned basic plant knowledge to answer questions in the nursery. Used employees more effectively.

Cornell Farm
Portland, OR

 1  1  23 Cut costs through controlled inventory, changing telephone service, negotiating credit card rates and tightening labor costs. Specializes in designer container gardens to help inspire and educate customers. They also proactively offers earth-friendly advice and products.
Every Bloomin’ Thing
Susanville, CA
1 2  17 Maintained a strict percentage for payroll based on projected sales. Management discontinued the use of chemicals on the retail nursery grounds and offers several product lines made from recycled materials, like edging, gloves and more.
Flower Tree Nursery
Fallon, NV
2  3  10 Opened a second location to capitalize on popularity of gifts and wine in the garden center shop. They also remodeled the organic area to take advantage of the staff’s expertise. Restructured debt load to take advantage of lower interest rates and negotiated better insurance rates due to the new location. 
Garland Nursery
Corvallis, OR
1 6 73 Each owner and some employees have held positions with the state nursery association. They educate customers with seminars and employees with product knowledge meetings. Made improvements this year to traffic flow, curb appeal and the front entrance.
Portland Nursery
Portland, OR
2 10 103 Eliminated as much overtime as possible, hired three fewer seasonal staff. To further reduce, they looked at payment terms with vendors resulting in more discounts and better terms, eliminated some pre-orders and budgeted 10 percent less in areas like operating supplies and maintenance. The result is a year-to-date net profit up 44 percent from 2008.
Roger Reynolds Nursery & Carriage Stop
Menlo Park, CA
1 2 91 Established a merchandiser position for special displays and repositioned key personnel so responsibilities are more aligned with individual expertise. Continue to follow a four-phase management plan – currently in the fourth year of a five-year plan.
Shorty’s Garden & Home
Vancouver, WA
2 6 45 Creating a set of best practices sales strategies for every product line carried. Also, installed extensive computer network that integrates with POS system and other company software. Managers have laptops and PDAs to interface with network and each other. Shorty’s is planning on creating an on-site community garden and outreach program to build other community gardens.
Swansons Nursery
Seattle, WA
1 1.75 86 To reduce expenses they consolidated internal services and reduced labor by 10 percent. They promote local gardening-related activities like Seattle Tilth, Saving Water Partnership, P-Patch programs. Open communication among staff allow them to be engaged in successes and aware of challenges to be part of the solution.
Tropical Vibe Nursery
Newport Beach, CA
1 0.5 7 Caters well to a specific niche of tropical plants and tropical landscaping. Tropical Vibe attracts customers from out of state for their rare plants; aside from referrals, almost all the store traffic and projects come through website marketing initiatives.
Valley Nursery Inc.
Poulsbo, WA
1 3 42 Changed the focus of the nursery to better fit the times and adjusted employees to better fit their strengths. Valley Nursery added new services to offer to customers and is continually examining product mix and services to best meet the needs of customers.


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